Joint public letter on the need to urgently extend the Household Support Fund from 120+ organisations

Published on
06 February 2024

Barnardo’s has written to the Chancellor today alongside representatives from more than 120 other organisations calling for an urgent extension to the fund. The charities warn of the ‘devastating consequences’ for families facing hardship if the fund is not extended.  

Dear Chancellor,

We are writing to you as a group of organisations deeply concerned about the future of the Household Support Fund (HSF).

No family should have to choose between heating their home or feeding their children in the UK in 2024. When someone is facing hardship they need to be able to turn to their local authority for help. The HSF has enabled many to do so with 26 million grants given to households struggling to afford the essentials.[1] 

The clock is now ticking - current funding for the HSF ends on 31 March. Not extending it beyond this point will leave a major gap in support which neither local government, nor the voluntary sector will be able to fill.

Ahead of the Spring Budget, we are urging you to extend the Household Support Fund for at least the next year, so that families facing hardship, hunger, and unexpected costs are able to get the help they need in their communities.

The HSF has enabled councils to provide vital support, helping families in crisis access essentials, receive advice and support and get practical help with things like furniture and white goods. 62% of local welfare spending was financed by the HSF in 2022/23 and need is growing.[2] New Barnardo’s research shows that crisis requests to local authorities for children’s beds and bedding alone rose from 4,000 in 2019 to 18,000 in 2023.[3]

As organisations on the front-line we know how important local authority support is to the children, families and individuals we work with. This is a crucial part of our social safety net and its removal will have devastating consequences. 

Too many households are one unexpected cost away from having to make impossible decisions about their spending. 1 in 7 parents have fallen into arrears or gone into their overdraft due to rising costs and 4.2 million children – more than 1 in 4 – are living in poverty.[4] Without support in place families are often left with no option but to take on debt or go without even more of the essentials we all need.

Up and down the country local authorities are doing what they can to help people who are struggling to make ends meet in times of hardship. This is not something any of us can afford to see diminish when the current round of HSF funding ends in March.  Local government needs certainty and to be able to make long-term decisions to do the best by their communities.

We urge you to provide funding for the Household Support Fund beyond March.

Yours sincerely,

National & regional

Lynn Perry MBE, CEO Barnardo’s
Emma Revie, CEO, Trussell Trust
Mark Russell, CEO, The Children’s Society
Clare Moriarty, CEO of Citizens Advice
Paul Kissack, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust
Gwen Hines, CEO, Save the Children UK
Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive, National Children's Bureau
Julie Bentley, CEO, Samaritans 
Claire Donovan, Head of Policy, End Furniture Poverty
Helen Starr-Keddle, Deputy Director, Food Matters
Michele Deans, Interim Chair, North East Child Poverty Commission
Kath Dalmeny, Chief Executive, Sustain
Paul Streets, Chief Executive, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales
Sabine Goodwin, Director, Independent Food Aid Network
Anna Taylor OBE, Executive Director, The Food Foundation
Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive Officer, Carers Trust
Graham Whitham, Chief Executive Officer, Greater Manchester Poverty Action
Katherine Hill, Strategic Programme Manager, 4in10 London’s Child Poverty Network
Sophie Howes, Head of Policy, Child Poverty Action Group
Daniel Kebede,General Secretary, National Education Union
Anela Anwar, Chief Executive, Z2K
Craig Anderson OBE, Reuse Network
Dr Rosie McNee, Co-Founder & Director, Feed
Daniel Singleton, National Executive Director, FaithAction
Tim Nicholls, Head of Influencing and Research, National Autistic Society
Richard Lane, Chief Client Officer, StepChange Debt Charity
Helen Walker, Chief Executive, Carers UK
Stephaine Slater, Chief Executive, School Food Matters
Richard Kramer, Chief Executive, Sense
Paul Hook, Director, Asylum Matters
Stephen Kingdom, Campaign Manager, Disabled Children’s Partnership
Joseph Howes, Chair, End Child Poverty Coalition
Simon Francis, Coordinator, End Fuel Poverty Coalition
Victoria Benson, CEO, Gingerbread
Claire Atchia McMaster, Director Income and External Affair, Turn2Us
Sarah Pugh, Chief Executive, Whizz Kidz
Cheryl Ward, Group Chief Executive, Family Fund
Jaine Stannard, CEO School-Home Support
Gavin Smart, CEO, Chartered Institute of Housing
Alan Markey, Chair, National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers 
Andrew Forsey, National Director, Feeding Britain
Joseph Howes, CEO, Buttle UK
Samantha Clark, Chief Executive, Learning Disability England
Leigh Middleton, CEO, The National Youth Agency
Laurence Guinness, Chief Executive, The Childhood Trust
Ruth Talbot, Founder, Single Parent Rights
Ian Preston, Director of Development & External Affairs, Centre for Sustainable Energy
Dr Lindsey MacDonald, CEO, Magic Breakfast
Jackie O’Sullivan, Acting CEO, Mencap
Colin Hodgson, Sales Director, Edenred UK


Cllr Grace Williams, Leader of Waltham Forest Council
Cllr Bella Sankey, Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council
Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Leader of Islington Council
Cllr Kieron Williams, Leader of Southwark Council
Cllr Barry Rawlings,  Leader of Barnet Council
Rokhsana Fiaz OBE, Mayor of Newham
Cllr Claire Holland, Deputy Chair of London Councils
Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, Leader of the London Borough of Hounslow
Cllr David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council
Stephen Halsey, Chief Executive, London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Sharmina August, Councillor for Eccles (Lead Member for Inclusive Economy, Anti-Poverty & Equalities)
Cllr Astrid Johnson, Green Group leader on Manchester City Council
Hannah Cooper, Research and Campaigns Manager, Citizens Advice Newcastle
Ali Ghanimi, Senior Manager, Brighton & Hove Food Partnership
Lisa Hook, Brighton Community and Families Project
Becs Kent, Elm Grove Parent Teacher Association
Mel Steel, Voices in Exile
Bryan Coyle, CEO, East Brighton Food Cooperative
Ian Thompson, Chief Executive, South Tyneside Citizens Advice
Mark Almond, Chief Executive, North Tyneside Citizens Advice
Graham Easterlow, Chief Executive, East Durham Trust
Abi Conway, CEO, Citizens Advice Northumberland
Kevin Franks, CEO, Youth Focus: North East
Juliet Sanders, CEO, Feeding Families
Denise Irving, Chief Officer, Citizens Advice Sunderland
Jo-Anne Carden, CEO, Citizens Advice Brighton & Hove
Dr Naomi Maynard, Director, Feeding Liverpool
Tom Lambert, The Carers Centre Brighton & Hove
Leigh Elliott, Chief Executive, Children North East
Michelle Cooper, CEO, County Durham Community Foundation
Jane Hartley, Interim Chief Executive, Voluntary Organisations’ Network North East
Tracy Harrison, CEO, Northern Housing Consortium
Peter Maloney, Chief Executive, Hospitality and Hope
Steph Capewell, Chief Executive, Love Amelia
Emilie de Bruijn, Chair, Hartlepool Baby Bank
Pauline Cory, Director, Transition Town Worthing
Margaret Howard, Founder & Director of Broadwater Support Group
Khristina McCormack, Street Homeless Outreach Worthing Soup Kitchen
Tracy Armstrong, Chief Officer, Citizens Advice Newcastle
Rachel Crighton, Campaigns Manager, Whitehawk Foodbank, East Brighton
Maxine Thomas, Head of Adult & Older Peoples Services, Impact Initiatives Sussex
Siriwimon Areelertworakul, The Network of International Women for Brighton & Hove
Reyna Kothari, Old Boat Community Centre Manager, Holingbury
Emma Walsh, Brighton Women’s Centre
Dale Lay, South Coast Skate Club C.I.C
Sharon Rose, Advice Centre Manager, Possability People
Sophie Livingstone, CEO, Little Village
Gary Malcomson, CEO, Citizens Advice Bury & Bolton
Anna Route, Hull Food Partnership & Hull Food Inequality Alliance
Ian Smith & Tami Skelton, Directors, Food Plymouth CIC
Tina Harrison MBE, Volunteer lead, Trinity Foodbank Radcliffe Greater Manchester
Helen Weston, CEO, Derbyshire Carers Association
Catherine Arnold, Adur Community Cafe
Sonia Mangan, CEO, Carers Support
Claire Turner, Chief Executive, Carers Leeds
Jenni Wood, Chief Executive, Durham County Carers Support
Kate Jeffels, Chief Officer, Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland
Simon Westgarth, CEO, Richmond Furniture Scheme
Bob Bevil, Advocacy and Campaigning Lead, Chipping Barnet Foodbank
Charlotte Butler, Operations Director, Transformation Cornwall
Helen Carver, A2Dominion Housing Group
Ellie Coteau, CEO, The Welcome Centre
Laura Stratford, Greater Lincolnshire Food Partnership
Helen Howson, CEO, Citizens Advice Darlington, Redcar and Cleveland
Sarah McCarthy, Director, Phoenix Food Shop, Brighton
John Randall, Interim CEO, Electric Storm Youth, West Sussex
Paula McCormack, Executive Lead, Wallsend Children's Community
Sam Gilchrist, Project Manager, West Northumberland Food Bank
Debra Blakey, Chief Executive, Carers Northumberland
Robert Taylor, Camden Federation of Private Tenants
Vici Richardson, Chief Executive, Disability North
Helen Burgess, Managing Director, Pocket Power
Mike Wild, Chief Executive, Macc, Manchester
Tonia Redvers, Director of Operations, The YOU Trust
Alison Page, Chief Executive, Salford CVS
Darren Knight, Chief Executive, George House Trust
Helen Tomlinson, Chief Officer, Bury VCFA
Belay Kahsay, CEO, Manchester Refugee Support Network
Brian Carr, Birmingham Voluntary Service Council
Dawn Yates-Obé, CEO, Bolton CVS


[1] Department for Work and Pensions (2023), ‘Press release: Families in need encouraged to check for local cost-of-living support as 26 million awards already made

[2] End Furniture Poverty (2023), ‘On the Cliff Edge: The State of Crisis Support 2022/2023

[3] Barnardo’s (2024), ‘No crib for a bed: a closer look at bed poverty and the Household Support Fund crisis

[4] Barnardo’s (2023), ‘A Crisis on Our Doorstep’, page 8. Department for Work and Pensions (2023), Households Below Average Income, ‘Statistics on the number and percentage of people living in low income households for financial years 1994/95 to 2021/22’, Table 1.4a.